Interval merchandise to be handed out at no cost to everybody in Scotland in ‘world first’

New legislation was passed this week, which means local authorities must ensure period products, such as tampons, sanitary pads and reusable period items, are available for free to anyone in the area who needs them.

It also makes it a legal requirement for education establishments to provide free period products for students at schools, colleges and universities. Period products are already available for free in these settings, but the bill enshrines this right in law. 

It follows concerns over so-called “period poverty” where those on lower incomes struggle to afford sanitary items, while calculations found that many will spend thousands on period-related products over their lifetime. The new legislation aims to address this issue, but the free products will be available to anyone who needs to use them and won’t be means-tested. 

The bill was brought forward by Labour MSP Monica Lennon, and was unanimously approved in the Scottish Parliament. She described the legislation as “an opportunity to consign period poverty to history”. See our Cheap Sanitary Products guide for information on how to save on period products, and where to go for help if you’re struggling to afford sanitary items.

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